Russia eyes $21 billion deals as Putin visits Iran



As President Vladimir Putin arrives in Tehran on Monday, Russia looks to secure export deals worth $21 billion with Iran which is about to walk free from a web of Western sanctions soon. 

Russian media broke the news of the unprecedented deal, saying the contracts had been signed at the MAKS-2015 air show near Moscow in August.

The contracts included production and procurement of satellite-related equipment and Sukhoi Superjet 100 passenger aircraft, Sputnik quoted head of Iran Aviation Industries Organization Manouchehr Manteqi as saying in September.

On the eve of Putin’s visit, new president of Sukhoi Civil Aircraft Ilya Tarasenko said the company was in advanced talks to sell 100 Sukhoi jets to Iran.

Projects for cooperation 

Russia’s Minister of Trade and Industry Denis Manturov will head a delegation of executives from several leading companies on a visit to Iran in mid-December. Gazprom, Russian Helicopters and the manufacture of Sukhoi jets, United Aircraft Corporation, will be sending their representatives.

According to Russia’s biggest defense conglomerate, Rostec, the focus would mainly be on civil exports in areas such as aerospace, infrastructure and energy, the Financial Times reported.

Russian Helicopters has said it will assist Iran to retrofit a repair center for Mi-17 helicopters and also supply it with helicopter parts when sanctions are lifted.

The company’s Chief Executive Alexander Mikheev traveled to Tehran last week with Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin to pave the way for Putin’s visit and conclusion of the deals.

On Thursday, Rogozin said Iran seeks cooperation with Russia on aerospace, including production of weather satellites, and remote sensing devices.

“They want their own weather satellites, satellites and remote sensing devices,” he told Rossiya-24 television.

Russia has acted swiftly to cement ties with Iran after an international nuclear accord was reached with the Islamic Republic in July.

New alliance

Putin’s visit to Tehran is his first in eight years. It comes at a sensitive time when bilateral cooperation in fighting terrorism in Syria and Iraq and thwarting West’s sanctions on both countries have drawn Iran and Russia closer to each other.

The Russian president will attend the most important summit of gas exporters at a time of rapidly changing dynamics in global energy markets amid a need for greater coordination on pricing and supplies.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak listens to Iran’s Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh addressing Gas Exporting Countries Forum in Tehran, Nov. 22, 2015. ©Shana  

Iran and Russia own the world’s first and second largest gas reserves, accounting for about 57% of the total play along with Qatar.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak called Tehran as Moscow’s “most important economic and trade partner”. The two countries, he said, have devised a package of projects worth $35 billion to $40 billion.

Massive resources of Iran, described an energy superpower in view of its oil and gas reserves combined, have set world countries salivating at the vast prospects of business.

According to the US-based Institute of International Finance, Iran will post a growth increase of about six percent next year. The country is estimated to contribute as much as Italy to global growth in the next decade, roughly $270 billion, the FT said.

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